Tregonning & Associates' MatchCom Referee
Talkback System was a world's first and originally
designed for the introduction of a Video Referee into
Rugby League or the TMO (Television Match Official)
in Rugby Union whilst additionally supplying the necessary
feeds to both TV and radio broadcasters, all being
controlled from the MatchCom base unit. It is marketed
to top end users in various sporting competitions
and has set a new standard for reliability in sports
Over a period of time, a number of our MatchCom clients
asked the same question. "Would it be possible
to design a "cut down" system that could
deliver the same quality and reliability?" If
so, referees and match officials in lower grades of
competition could experience a similar revolution
to what MatchCom has achieved for A grade Rugby League
and Rugby Union competitions!
several years, we have been working on such a system
that can deliver the best sports communications available
without the sophistication of MatchCom and its
operators. A communication system that also delivers
value for money and reliability for lower grade games.
to the introduction of MatchCom, "Talking
Flags" were traditionally being used by Referees
for both Rugby and Rugby League. The technology "jump"
for Referees from "Talking Flags" or Motorola
"walkie talkie" based systems to MatchCom
is enormous! Also problematical, is that "Talking
Flags" were a "one way" device designed
for the 2 Touch Judges to talk to the Referee but
without allowing the Touch Judges to hear the Referee.
late 2002, prompted by requests from Russell Trotter,
then the Referee Manager of the ARU (Australian Rugby
Union) and George Ayoub, then the Referee Manager
of NSW Rugby, we investigated, sourced, designed,
modified and built a system we are very excited about.
The results of this project have exceeded what was
system is called RefTalk. This is not a replacement
for MatchCom but it sits on the "Technology
Scale" somewhere between "Talking Flags"
and MatchCom. The quality is very similar to MatchCom
in most aspects of its operation.
does it vary in specification from MatchCom? After
a short familiarisation period, an operator is not
required. The Referees are able to load the vests,
change the batteries etc. The end-user's (Referees
and Touch Judges) operation and use of it, is the
same as MatchCom, in fact, we are using the same RVC
(Referee's Communication Vests) and earpieces.
is no base station (unlike MatchCom) and there are
no facilities for a Video Referee (T.M.O.) or integration
and audio feeds to a TV Broadcaster. It provides the
same two-way communications between the Referee and
the Touch Judges as MatchCom does without the extended
facilities not required at this level of competition.
As with MatchCom, it is also possible for an Assessor
or Referee Coaches to have "Listen Only"
receivers and earpieces and similarly a feed to
VHS / DVD record systems.
Main Referee only hears the TJs when they PTT (Push
to Talk) as they do with MatchCom. The Main Referee
does not hear himself in his earpiece, that is, he
has no "sidetone" as per MatchCom. The referees
do not have an issue with this. The TJs do, however,
have "sidetone" and can hear themselves
and their counterpart when either of them PTT to talk
to the Referee. The TJs hear the Referee constantly
as an "open" microphone, again the same
as MatchCom. The audio signal to the Assessors and
or Coaches and the VHS / DVD recorder is a "mix"
of the Main Referee as a constant "open"
microphone with the Touch Judges opening their microphones
only with their PTT switches.
pricing of RefTalk is variable depending on
how many Receivers are required for Assessors etc.
The system is totally flexible to specific needs on
a game by game basis. We are only offering RefTalk
as a rental product which means that you hire a system
or systems for a game or the season. The primary issue
with purchasing any electronic gear, is how quickly
it becomes obsolete. To give you an example, the only
component in the current MatchCom system that is from
the original 1996 design is the roadbox. So, as soon
as something better is available we incorporate it.
RefTalk Client list so far is:
NSWRL (New South Wales Rugby League) for their following
QLDRL (Queensland Rugby League) - QLD Cup.
(New South Wales Rugby Union) - Tooheys' New Cup and
the Shute Shield.
Rugby Union (non-televised games)
Rugby Union, New Zealand.
the 5 years that RefTalk has been in existence,
we have found that it is also ideal for the Rugby
incorporating 9 RefTalk systems, it allows us
to wire up 36 officials and have two operators that
rotate on and off the field. To date, we have supplied
RefTalk for the Wellington Sevens every year
from 2003 to 2008 and the RWC Sevens 2005 in Hong
Kong, the Hong Kong Sevens 2006, 2007, 2008, the Singapore
Sevens 2005 and 2006, the Adelaide Sevens 2007 and
2008 as well as the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
think the best way for anyone to decide on a talkback
system is to trial both our
MatchCom and RefTalk systems against any
"rival" system that might be out there.
We are confident our systems are the best available
in the world today.
regarding RefTalk should be sent to